Monthly Archives: March, 2015

Reflections on my recent visit to Khartoum

In the restaurants: When visiting a local restaurant in the heart of Khartoum, the cook and the waiters used bare-naked hands to serve food. Give me more bread please! The waiter will just walk and pick one and clean the flour off with his other bare-naked hand.

In the offices: Only four hours of official work. From 10 AM to 2 PM you can be serve if you are lucky, after that nobody I mean officials in the offices to work on your papers.

Transportation: Transportation was the cheapest; whether you are taking a public buses or renting a taxi. 40 SDN can rent a taxi for a distance of 40-50 KM

In the hotel where I was accommodated, no photos, no any kind of art except that of the Kaba and arrow showing the direction of Mecca for prayer purpose in the room.

Majority of the people, the Sudanese are friendly to South Sudanese, but of course there were some pain and puzzling felt by the Sudanese over the separation of South Sudan. Few young men and young women make jokes like, “what do you want here again, you wanted your country, you have it why are you here again”? I was not sure if they were joking or complaining.

Food: Yes there is quality food everywhere, but for the well-off people, also there is that bad and poor quality food for the poor.

No more dust storms in Khartoum, Alhamdu liLah!

Fight for alcohols continue! Sudanese Gin/Aragi is the most darling and daring

I want to eat Shaeya or Nyama Choma, the owner was stupid. Bare foot, aggressive, Islamic religious symbols everywhere. I asked him “Brother, how long it is going to take me to wait for the Shaeya to be ready”? “Just wait” was the answer. He behaves like the Sudanese bus drivers who never tell the departure and arrival times and to them, time estimation is against the faith. In-shaa-Allah

Mobile phones market is boosted. Samsung phones trade-mark is everywhere in the town. One Samsung phone dealer cheated me; he gave me a fake Samsung and took my best Samsung. Great development!

Off to the Ministry of Education and General Instruction. There were queues in every direction. South Sudanese like other foreigners have one window or the counter to pay fees for issuing their certificates. All foreigners are charged 61 SDN and Sudanese 21 SDN. I thought there were other services for foreigners’ e.g.  where to receive the certificate, but all the foreigners with all, all the Sudanese queue for hours and hours to receive the  certificate. One out of five South Sudanese gets his/her name correctly spelled in the certificate. My names where spelled wrongly two times.

Big, very big towers or what the Westerns call now days (sky scrapers) springing up here and there, I think that is what they call development. Life has speeded up in Khartoum; you can see how people walk in the market places, no more slow-mode

So many bleached South Sudanese ladies around! And there are so many Nuer and Shilluk natives in Khartoum.

“Ya Zool do you have dollars? Do you want to buy dollars”? Mostly all well dressed-up South Sudanese are asked these questions in Arabi Market. Quest for the lost dollars from South Sudan oil continue.

Old friends who were human rights activists are still strong and keeping doing the same work. It seems that many people are minding their business now because of hardship in economics.

Many thanks to my friends and brothers from Sudan! Mohamed E. invited me for dinner the second day of my arrival. Mohamed A. invited me for dinner with his family the fourth day, my friend Mubark B. invited me for Mr. Gordon Gin. and a nice chicken. Dr. M.A invited me in his house and I had a nice dinner with him and an old friend I forgotten back in 2005 when I met him in Al-Mujlad. Many thanks go to all other friends who offered me training on human rights defenders security and reporting, many thanks.